Chess Tactics Exploding the Middlegame
Figure out your chess tactics
is only half the battle in chess. But it takes chess tactics to gain the upper hand.
You can have an overall long term game plan. But you can also look for three to four move combinations that will forcibly damage your adversary. These combos are designed to create mating attacks, win material or in some way improve your position.
As you get more experienced you will spot opportunities to spring these combinations on your opponents. These ideas come in many forms.
The common theme is subjecting your opponent to a double threat or even multiple threats. He is forced to choose the least bad outcome from the menu. These plans are called chess tactics.
Chess Tactics: The Royal Fork - The Knight puts the Black King in check while also attacking the Queen. The King must move so the Knight will take the Queen on the next move
One sucker punch you can land on your opponent is the fork. Any piece or pawn can fork two enemy pieces. The most notorious is the Knight, well known for forking a King and Rook.
It's really a double attack. You attack two pieces at once. Your opponent can only keep one of them, he will save the more valuable one. Then you take the remaining piece.
The reason that the Knight is especially adept at this is probably his unique move. When the Knight attacks a piece (other than an enemy Knight of course), that piece cannot take the Knight.
Chess Tactics: With the Bishop on d6, Black was masking a threat on the undefended White Queen. But the Black Queen actually had an X-Ray attack on her opposite number. Black plays ...Bb4+ and gets a discovered attack on the White Queen, winning the tempo and the Queen
The discovered attack is another doozy that can be waiting on the end of a combo. This is when a piece is moved to attack an enemy piece. The magic in this trick is that when the first piece is moved it also opens up an attack by one of it's comrades on a second enemy piece.
The more valuable enemy piece must be protected leaving the secondary piece to fall. Very often a King is put in check with this idea and when he flees the other piece is taken.
In this example the Black Bishop is moved to b4 checking the King which must be protected. The same move from the Bishop has opened up the line between the two Queens. When the King's survival is secured the unprotected Queen is left to perish.
Chess Tactics: Reti - Tartakower, 1910; 10.Bg5! is a double check and it's checkmate next move
The double check is a deadly assault on any poor King that feels it's wrath. It's potency comes from the fact that the only way to deal with the check is to move the King.
Since he under attack from two enemy pieces, blocking does no good as it only stops one check. Taking the attacking piece is no answer for there are two attacking pieces and he can take only one. So the King must flee.
You can rob the King of castling rights and trap him in the center. But there are other things that make the double check a fearsome weapon.
Since only the King can move you are effectively freezing his whole army. Therefore if you can attack any other piece as you launch your double check, that piece would be hanging.
Chess Tactics: Schulten - Morphy, 1857; Black plays 17...Nf3!!, a beautiful Clearance Sacrifice. The Knight will be taken but now the Black Queen can immediately come to d5 and White is soon put to the sword
The clearance sacrifice is another great tactical idea. Sometimes when one of your own pieces is blocking a winning combination the best way forward is to sacrifice it.
You need the square it sits on. You don't want to lose a tempo and the initiative. So you move the piece in such a way that it forces a parry. Now you have opened the road to a mating attack without losing a tempo.
A clearance sacrifice can in most cases be considered a positional sacrifice. You are giving up material but achieving a much better position. This is very often done by force.
Add a potent tactical threat
Get in tune with many of the common motifs of the middlegame
to your solid positional skills and you certainly will be a player to be respected, even feared by your peers. Practice tactics daily
Is there anything else you need to know in the middlegame? It just so happens that there are some common thematic ideas that are played in a wide range of middlegames. Technical know how on such things as minority attacks, Queenside majorities, blockades, weak square complexes and more.
It's always handy to know how to play against all kinds of pawn formations and how to target isolated pawns, backward pawns, doubled pawns, hanging pawns and the like. Brush up on your chess motifs